Russia, U.S. and other countries reach new agreement against cyber hacking, even as attacks continue

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Russia and the United States — along with 23 other countries — recently reaffirmed that states should not hack each other’s critical infrastructure in peacetime or shelter cyber criminals who conduct attacks on other countries.


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But Russia, which was among the states originally agreeing to the norms at the United Nations, has violated them repeatedly over the years. Experts are skeptical those violations will halt unless the United States and its allies impose far more serious consequences.

President Biden is on an eight-day trip to Europe that will culminate in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. He will raise issues of cybersecurity, including his concern that Moscow is harboring hackers who have carried out damaging ransomware attacks against some of the United States’ most critical sectors. An attack last month led to a days-long shutdown of the country’s largest refined fuel pipeline, followed by an attack that disrupted the world’s largest meat processor.

“Ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure are of an even higher order of magnitude of concern for us,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday. “We do not judge that the Russian government has been behind these recent ransomware attacks, but we do judge that actors in Russia have. And we believe that Russia can take and must take steps to deal with it.”

The question now is whether Russia, and other countries such as China, which affirmed the cyber norms in May, can or will be held accountable.

[Opinion: How Russia and China are attempting to rewrite cyberworld order]

White House officials have downplayed expectations from the summit given the tense relationship between Washington and Moscow.

Current and former officials say the global norms provide a foundation for accountability by explaining the bounds of acceptable conduct in cyberspace and by creating an expectation of good behavior.

“It certainly seems that states want others to behave well in cyberspace, and there are some key states that just aren’t. So you have to do something about it,” said Michele Markoff, the State Department’s acting coordinator…


Ransomware attacks could reach ‘pandemic’ proportions. What to know after the pipeline hack.

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A cybersecurity expert warned U.S. lawmakers last week that the world was on the cusp of a “pandemic of a different variety.”

An "Out Of Service" bag covers a gas pump as cars continue line up for the chance to fill their gas tanks at a Circle K gas station near uptown Charlotte on May 11, 2021, following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)

© Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images
An “Out Of Service” bag covers a gas pump as cars continue line up for the chance to fill their gas tanks at a Circle K gas station near uptown Charlotte on May 11, 2021, following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)

Christopher Krebs, who formerly headed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security, testified Wednesday before the House Committee on Homeland Security that a form of malware called ransomware has become more prevalent than ever before. Given an ever-widening criminal enterprise and vulnerable digital landscape, he said, critical infrastructure is at risk of debilitating attacks.


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Two days later, Colonial Pipeline, a major fuel pipeline connecting the East Coast, was hit in the largest known hack on U.S. energy infrastructure.

The incident, which instigated a shutdown of the pipeline, a panic-buying spree for gas and a price jump at the pump over the weekend, is one of the latest in a string of crippling ransomware attacks orchestrated by extortionary criminal organizations that mostly operate in foreign safe havens outside the grasps of America’s criminal justice system.

Experts say continued ransomware threats are inevitable, calling on businesses and governments to ramp up efforts to secure their online networks.

“Cybercriminals have been allowed to run amok while governments have mainly watched from the sidelines, unclear on whether cybercrime is a national security-level threat,” Krebs told lawmakers. “If there was any remaining doubt on that front, let’s dispense with it now: too many lives are at stake.”

What’s a ransomware attack?

Ransomware, a malicious computer code that hackers deploy to block an organization’s access to their own computer network to extort a ransom, is one of the most common forms of malware, experts say.

Hackers may barrage employees with phishing emails, convincing the user to download a file or visit an infected…


Global Embedded Security Product Market 2021 Expected to Reach High CAGR

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By Type

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Cyber Warfare Market Evenly Poised To Reach A Market Value of US$

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Cyber Warfare Market

Cyber Warfare Market

Overview of Global Cyber Warfare Market:

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Global Key Vendors:

1 BAE System

2 Boeing

3 General Dynamic

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Product Type Segmentation

1 Cyberattacks